Hello guys, thanks for reading yet another one of my scribbles, it means a lot to me. In my first Living In London post, I promised to share some things to keep in mind when getting started in this country, so here they are. Disclaimer: This is purely based on my own experience, thoinks!
The first thing you need to get before all things while getting started in London is your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit). I’m sure in your application, you put in a postcode and your visa letter would have mentioned where to pick it up from (which must be done within 10 days of entering the country). The BRP contains your type of visa, how long your stay in the country is for (if you are coming to live in London), your NIN (usually at the back of the card), your BRP number and a whole bunch of other things. Remember to always keep it safe.
Getting A Phone Line:
Next on your list should be getting on a phone network because you would need it for data and calls (especially if you are scouting for an apartment). In the UK, there are various networks to choose from – O2, Vodafone, Lyca, etc. So take your pick and then subscribe to whatever bundle you desire.
Opening A Bank Account:
This right here is very important, but the tricky part is having an address to open an account with. If you have a friend or relative, you could use theirs and switch when you’ve secured an apartment. Note, if you are opening with any of the big banks, Barclays, HSBC, you can’t use a hotel address (in case you are lodged somewhere till you get an apartment). But they have digital banks that you could open and the wonderful thing is you receive your card within days. For me, I opened a Monzo account and it’s been great using it so far. You can monitor all your spend, send money to friends with great ease, create direct debits and save as well. You can check it out or open a different one if you so desire.
Finding An Apartment:
In my experience, this was one of the most tedious times of my life. But hey, searching for an ideal apartment isn’t really a child’s play. Anyway, I made use of loads of property sites like; Zoopla, Open Rent, Right Move and then viewed lots of houses before finally settling with one. One key thing to note is that you should have at least one and a half month’s rent and also get ready to pay for a number of monthly bills. Look out for a different post highlighting some of the bills you might get to pay and what they are for. You would also be required to provide details like your landlord’s contacts from your previous location, your bank statement, employer details (if you’ve got a job already) and other basic info (depending on the property agent). This phase is known as referencing and comes up once your offer has been accepted by your future landlords.
Registering With A GP: So last on my list is registering with a GP (General Practice). Unlike what you might be used to in your home country (Nigeria in my case), you can’t register with just any GP, it has to be one within your postcode and catchment. This is so you can get access to the health care services offered by the NHS.
Alright, folks, that’s it, the getting started post. Please feel free to drop your comments as well as your experiences getting started in your new settlement. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to like and share it with your friends.